MANILA, Philippines — Opposition lawmakers on Monday said the Pulse Asia survey showing majority of the Filipinos believe that extrajudicial killings (EJK) take place in the course of the administration’s war on drugs countered the police’s claim that many of those killed resisted arrest or “nanlaban.”
“If surveys are to be believed, then there’s one glaring inconvenient truth, Filipinos are not duped by the denials of government officials about EJKs and are in fact apprehensive about it,” Ifugao Representative Teodoro “Teddy” Baguilat Jr. said.
Results of the Pulse’s Ulat ng Bayan national survey conducted from Sept. 24 to 30 based on a sample of 1,200 respondents showed that while 88 of Filipinos support President Rodrigo Duterte’s pet war on drugs campaign — with 41 percent “truly” supporting it and 41 percent “supporting” it, — 73 percent “believe” that EJKs are happening in the implementation of the anti-narcotics drive.
For Akbayan partylist Rep. Tom Villarin, the survey was “a complete rejection of the official narrative of ‘nanlaban’ and ‘the police are just doing their job’.”
“It is high time the Philippine National Police be made accountable for the deaths under investigation which are in fact, extrajudicial killings,” he said.
Earlier this month, in an interview with Al Jazeera, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said all of the 3,800 people killed so far in the government’s anti-drug war were all criminal drug dealers.
But Villarin said an “independent, credible investigative commission composed of former jurists and persons of known probity” must be set up to find out the truth about “nanlaban” deaths.
“Otherwise, if the Duterte government sweeps this under the rug, it becomes its doing, and comes the time of reckoning,” he said.
For his part, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said that “surveys are immaterial” when innocent people are being killed, when the police violates the rule of law by way of EJK and planting of evidence and several abuses are committed by police officers.
“Enlightened Filipinos must speak and try to educate our people,” he said.
For PBA partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles, the Pulse Asia survey affirmed that Filipinos support the war on drugs.
“However, we need to weed out the crooked officers who are involved in the drug menace, especially those who murder to cover up their involvement in their own acts or omissions,” he said.